Ava DuVernay is an American filmmaker, marketer and film distributor. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win the Best Director Prize (Dramatic) for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere. The film was also nominated for the Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) at Sundance, for Best Film at the 2012 Gotham Awards, and for four Indie Spirit Awards. In 2010, she wrote, produced and directed the narrative feature, I Will Follow. Her feature directorial debut was the 2008 hiphop documentary, This is the Life, which won Audience Awards in Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle. DuVernay has also directed and produced three television documentaries: My Mic Sounds Nice (BET), Live from the Essence Music Festival (TV One) and Essence Presents: Faith in 2010 (TV One). Previously, DuVernay worked as a film marketer and publicist for 15 years, forming DVA Media + Marketing in 1999 which provided strategy for more than 120 film and television campaigns for such acclaimed directors as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann and Bill Condon. DuVernay is also the founder of AAFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement and a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Molly Haskell is a film critic and author who has written and lectured widely on film and the roles of women. Her books include From Reverence to Rape: the Treatment of Women in the Movies; Love and Other Infectious Diseases: a Memoir; and Frankly, My Dear: Revisited. She has taught at Columbia, Barnard and Sarah Lawrence, served as film critic for New York Magazine and Vogue, and written for many publications, including The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Town & Country, The Guardian and The Nation. She is a member of the National Society of Film Critics, has served as a member of the selection committee for the New York Film Festival, and was Artistic Director of the Sarasota French Film Festival for seven years. Her work was featured in The Library of America’s 2006 American Movie Critics, edited by Philip Lopate, and she won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010.
Rose Kuo is the executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center which presents international, classic and cutting-edge independent cinema, highlighted by its annual New York Film Festival and its co-presentation of 11 other film collections and festivals including: New Directors, New Films; New Fest; New York African Film Festival; New York Asian Film Festival; New York Jewish Film Festival; Latin Beat; Open Roads, New Italian Cinema; Rendezvous with French Cinema; and Spanish Cinema Now. Kuo has launched the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center (including two state-of-the-art cinemas, an amphitheater and Indie Food and Wine), oversees the annual Chaplin Award Gala, and serves as publisher of Film Comment. Kuo’s career in the film industry spans two decades and includes leading world class film festivals and organizations, producing and directing fiction and documentary films, and working with critically acclaimed filmmakers. She has served as the Artistic Director of the American Film Institute’s AFI FEST, as a programmer and consultant for Los Angeles County Museum, AFI Dallas, and the San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Mill Valley film festivals. Kuo began her career as an assistant to Oscar-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker and as a camera assistant to famed cinematographer Haskell Wexler.
Pat Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of the Paley Center for Media, has brought new life to the Center’s programming, attracting high profile leaders in entertainment, technology, business, and politics and offering its unrivaled collection of radio, television, and advertising content as a lens for exploring the powerful impact of media on society. Mitchell has spearheaded the conversion of the organization’s collection to a digital format, overseen the redevelopment of its interactive website, and negotiated content deals with prominent Internet portals and broadband companies. Prior to joining the Paley Center, Mitchell was president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the first woman and first producer and journalist to hold the position. During her tenure, she oversaw the development of a celebrated new series for children focusing on literacy and diversity, led public broadcasting’s conversion from analog to digital broadcasting, the launch of a high-definition PBS channel, and an on-demand and cable preschool children’s service, and more. From 1992-2000, Mitchell oversaw original productions for Ted Turner’s cable networks, where as executive producer, her documentaries and specials received thirty-seven Emmy Awards, five Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations.